Highly nutritious and packed with antioxidants, beetroots have so many health benefits that there’s practically no reason not to try to have them as often as you can. Also, they’re fairly cheap, which makes them a great choice to build meals with. If you buy them at the market, ask the greengrocer to give you ones with the beet greens still on them, they’re an excellent source of Vitamin C and they’re great in frittatas or roasted, in salads.
I wasn’t much of a fan of the beetroot growing up, it was actually the vegetable non grata for me. Looking back now, this was probably because they were only cooked two ways, both pretty bland and neither one appealed to me. Luckily, now I love them every which way, in soups, spreads, salads, you name it.
This pesto recipe is pretty easy to make, you just need time for roasting the beets, as they do take a while. I like to have this pesto with buckwheat pasta or farfalle, but it also makes for a great dip on your vegetable platter or dolloped on a nice root vegetable salad. And the color is spectacular. Enjoy!
1 large beetroot
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
50g/1/2 cup Pecorino cheese, freshly grated (or Parmesan)
A small handful of walnuts, toasted
Sea salt, flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 200C/390F. Wash beetroot, cut off the top and the tail, then chop into eights. Cover a baking dish with aluminum foil, place the beets inside and scatter the garlic on top, then cover with another sheet of aluminum foil, tucking it down the sides of the dish. Place the dish in the oven and roast until tender, 50 to 90 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove from oven and allow beets and garlic to reach room temperature. After they’ve cooled, squeeze the garlic out of their skins and put them along with the beetroot in your food processor or blender. Add the toasted walnuts and the Pecorino and whizz everything until it becomes a paste. With the motor running, pour olive oil through the tube until the pesto becomes smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you’re not serving this immediately, place in an airtight jar and cover with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil before sealing the jar, to prevent oxidation.